Mother Courage

Because I had never seen this play, I decided to buy the script and read it in advance. Doing so left me interested and curious: how could this thing be staged to make any sense?

Martha Henry managed it with ease. a parade of messengers announced the years, the events and other items needed to enable the audience to follow Mother Courage and her children through the long wandering war.

Seana McKenna led a strong cast, with good support from her children (Carmen Grant in particular) the cook, Geraint Wynn Davies and the pastor (Ben Carlson). Strong, cynical and ever optimistic are words that describe Mother Courage and seem to describe Seana herself. Geraint is always larger than life, and so is the cook. And Ben Carlson is able to disappear into his characters; in this case the priest disappeared too.

A very interesting play, although certainly not cheerful. At least it moved quickly from one situation to the next, with the wagon a looming presence. I had worried about the wagon being like the Acadian cart in a play we saw at Canstage a number of years ago, where the cart seemed to move for ever. Mother Courage’s wagon was part of her survival strategy. not a burden to drag her down.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to Mother Courage

  1. keithhpotter says:

    I wasn’t sure that the alienation effect was going to work for me. I imagined sitting there being aware of how uncomfortable the seat was while my mind wandered.
    However, I became engaged. Perhaps Brecht would have been unhappy, but I cared about the characters, who seemed real despite the non-realistic setting (perhaps I am just used to the latter; at the Patterson, particularly). The actors (and the director – okay Cathy, I’ll admit that Martha Henry is sometimes as good a director as she is an actor; sometimes) did a great job and gave me an involving story, while definitely getting across the anti-war message.

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